Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump, hugged him, and issued a statement (while continuing to avoid a Press Conference), he did what he does best – deliver a rousing speech to Non-Resident Indians.
Addressing a 600-and-odd-strong gathering of NRIs at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington DC, Modi suited up for the occasion and spoke in unornamented Hindi, visibly without the use of a teleprompter.
The Prime Minister is known to be a master of oratory, and he did not disappoint here. Throughout his speech, comparison was a recurring element – he spoke of the India that, according to him, NRIs would have known earlier versus the changed India over the past three years. In his words, he averred, his India is moving towards development faster than ever before, and technology-driven governance has sped up the process even more.
Modi skilfully intertwined stories of LPG cylinders replacing chulhas, farmers having easy access to urea fertilisers, and India’s achievements in the outer space, garnished with his takes on surgical strikes (against Pakistan), terrorism, the Opposition, social media and even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. All his opinions were followed by thunderous applause and chants of “Modi! Modi!” were heard.
He appealed to the diaspora to maintain the bridge with India. “Your younger generation must also keep the strong bond that you have with India”, he said. He reminded them of the millions of Indians back home who are waiting for better opportunities like the ones NRIs have made use of in the US.
Attendees were ecstatic to be present. “I’ve not been involved in politics but to be able to give back to society is important. It is truly inspiring to be able to be in the same room with the Indian PM”, Jamin Brahmbhatt, who had travelled all the way from Orlando, told Firstpost.